Family of Aussie journalist kidnapped in Somalia with Canadian breaks silence.

Nigel Brennan

Halkaan ka akhri

CALGARY — The family of an Australian photographer who was taken hostage along with Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia is criticizing the nearly-year-long negotiating process as lacking in transparency and taking “a ridiculous amount of time.”

“We are just desperate to get some answers from our government,” Rebecca Hutchins, a spokeswoman for the family of Nigel Brennan, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“What do they think is a reasonable time for an Australian citizen to be held captive?”

Brennan’s mother also confronted Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during a public visit earlier this week, according to media reports.

Brennan and Lindhout from Sylvan Lake, Alta., were kidnapped on Aug. 23, 2008, along with local journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was released in January.

In another interview with ABC, an Australian official said Friday the family’s public comments Thursday would not help speed up negotiations for Brennan’s release.

“I understand very much their frustration and the agony of the mother who hasn’t seen her son for almost a year,” said Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. “Our advice has always been not to go public, not to go to the media.”

Rudd said in a separate interview that the country is doing everything it can.

“This is an exceptionally complex matter, and I think if you were fully apprised, confidentially, of the details of the case . . . you’d be fully seized of how difficult and complex a matter this is, given the part of the world in which he is located,” the Australian prime minister said.

Negotiations between Canadian officials and Somali hostage takers ceased in January, and Lindhout issued a plea in May to Agence France-Presse via a five-minute phone conversation, saying she and Brennan were not doing well.

“I’m being kept . . . in a dark windowless room, completely alone,” she said during the plea.

“The situation here is very dire and very serious.”

Brennan also spoke, saying his health was “extremely poor and deteriorating rapidly.”

Sourse: Canada

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